In a decision made public on Sept. 28, a U.S. Labor Dept. review board ruled a whistleblower was fired in retaliation for raising safety concerns at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry nuclear power complex in northern Alabama. In a 16-page decision, the panel overruled a department administrative law judge who had sided with Stone & Webster, the contractor working in 2004 to restart one of the generating station’s units. The firm fired James Speegle, a painter, when he raised concerns to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about protective coatings being used in the plant’s cooling systems. The firm, now
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.